Essay on His Divine Grace
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī
Gosvāmī Mahārāja Prabhupāda
(by A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami)
India's best and latest contribution for the human society or for the commity of nations by Śrī Rabindranath in his immortal poetic songs and that of Mahatma Gandhi by his cultural idealism of non-violent non-cooperation with the evil, etc., are all based partially on the teachings of Lord Caitanya. The full significance of His transcendental movement in a practical manner is possible to be realised if we do not try to put a stumbling block on the progress of unalloyed love and service, as was partially conceived by Rabindranath and Gandhi. The full fledged display of love and service to the human society can be rendered in the line of Lord Caitanya, not in theory, but in practice. Lord Caitanya's movement is the meeting point of all contending elements, and Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, after being authorised by Śrīla Bhaktivinoda Ṭhākura, wished to contribute the sublime, and at the same time simple philosophy of Lord Caitanya to the leaders of human society on a missionary spirit, and as such during His life time, within a course of 15 years, He established about 65 preaching centres all over the world, including one in London and one in Berlin. In London, the missionary delegation sent by Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī under the banner of the Gaudiya Math, was challenged so to say, by Lady Wellingdon, if India had anything to teach the West, but later on she was convinced that people outside India have yet to learn from India the real way to peace and prosperity. Such high political circles in London, when the British Rule in India was still in existence, were so much convinced by the missionaries of Gaudiya Math that even a personality like the Marquis of Zetland and that of Sir Francis Younghusband became regular members of the London Branch of Gaudiya Math, and one generous lady of the name Miss Boughton offered her country residence for establishing a permanent centre of the Math there in England.
And in Germany, many inquisitive scholars of that great country actually accepted the creed of Lord Caitanya by the endeavor of Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja, although He was not personally present in these materially advanced countries. There were more than 50 centres in India for propagating this missionary activity. He was conducting six papers in different languages, including one in English of the name Harmonist, and another Bengali daily under the name of Nadia Prakash. Late Madan Mohan Palavya, when he happened to meet Śrī Sarasvatī Thakur in the Calcutta centre of the Gaudiya Math, the famous Pandit enquired what was being written about spiritualism in a daily Bengali paper. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Thakur replied the Pandit promptly that this earth is but an insignificant part of the whole universe, and the universe is a partial exhibition of the unlimited Vaikuṇṭha existence, as we have information from the Bhagavad-gītā. He said that Calcutta was still an insignificant part of the insignificant earth. There are about a dozen dailies in Calcutta, and they were still supplying news to the public by morning and evening editions. Therefore, if subscribers were available, Śrīla Sarasvatī Thakur said, he could give them news of the Vaikuṇṭha world every minute in an edition of His paper.
The fact is that we have no information of the Vaikuṇṭha world as our poor fund of knowledge does not allow us to go farther than this earth where we live, although this earth, or for that matter this universe, as stated in the Bhagavad-gītā, is not a place for comfort and happiness. No ācārya, either of this country or that of other, ever stressed the fact that this world can be changed into a permanent abode for life, knowledge and pleasure. But the modern leaders of human society without any consultations of the past ācāryas have stuck their faith in the adjustment of this world for peace and prosperity, although their repeated attempts to do so have repeatedly been baffled since the days of Rāvaṇa, who wanted to help the people materialistically, by building a direct route of stairs to the high region of heaven.
This mistaken idea of the Rāvaṇic principles must have to be changed if we really want peace and prosperity of life. It was shown by Śrī Kṛṣṇa in His great Philosophy of Bhagavad-gītā, it was practically demonstrated by Lord Caitanya, and lately attempt was made by Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī for universal acceptance in a novel way. But His missionary activities still remain unfinished. Unfortunately, some of the top-ranking workers in his missionary activities were enamoured by the grandeur of the Gaudiya Math estate instead of its real work, and they have now satisfied their sense of possessing buildings by dividing the whole missionary centres as their private properties, without caring for the mission of Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī.
Śrī Śrīmad Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja's whole missionary activities were targeted towards the sense gratification of the sentient Supreme Whole, instead of the sense gratifying process of individuals souls. He pointed out repeatedly, just like his other bona fide predecessors, that individual living entities can achieve real peace and harmony on their voluntary acquinscences to serve for the sense gratification of the Absolute Dictator. As the individual citizen of a state can partially solve the questions of peace and harmony by his voluntary surrender to Supreme will of the estate, so the individual soul can achieve complete peace and harmony only by his full surrender unto the Supreme Will of the Absolute Whole. He has to understand that partial surrender to the Will of the estate or to the will of the united nations or for the mat——to the will of the entire universe even will not make his surrendering process complete unless he surrenders to the complete Whole. The individual citizen when he does surrender to the supreme will of the estate for his protection peace and prosperity, he does so in a mechanical way because such surrendering process does not actually guarantee cent percent peace and prosperity of the individual citizen. The human being is not an animal so that he shall remain satisfied simply by a guarantee of the estate for his peaceful supply of food, shelter, education and coverings. The human being has many other demands which cannot be mechanically fulfilled. Food, shelter, clothing, and guarantee of mundane education are only some of the needs of the material body of the individual soul but still there are many needs of the individual soul so far his subtle mind and above all so far his individual soul is concerned. Every individual soul is essentially a particle of the same qualitative spiritual energy as the God is Himself made of by His own will. The individual soul cannot be satisfied simply by the satisfaction of gross bodily or subtle mental food etc but he has to be satisfied of his perpetual or eternal hankering after spiritual unification with his essential Whole the Supreme Absolute Truth the personality of Godhead. The individual soul has been encaged in his gross material body and subtle mind by a time immemorial process of his willful association with the material world and as such he has practically forgotten that he is essentially a spiritual entity encaged in the material coverings of the body and the mind. The individual soul can realize this fact of his forgetfulness of eternal relation with Godhead in an submissive mood of receiving the truth by aural reception. Practical proof of this process of aural reception can be realized if we study the case of a sleeping man. A sleeping man cannot see, cannot work, cannot smell neither he can protect himself from and imminent danger. It is however a fact that the sleeping man can hear at all circumstances. When the sleeping man dreams of his being attacked by a tiger in his dream and actually feels the pangs of his being devoured by the maneater and therefore groans in his slumber he is saved from that imminent danger only by the process of hearing without any help from any other sources. The sleeping man can be awakened from his sleep by his fellow bed man by the process of loud calling which enters into him by the aural reception only. When he is awakened he realizes that he was dreaming in a slumbering state but actually he was never attacked by the tiger neither he was ever devoured by it.
In the Bhagavad-gītā the present state of affairs of human civilization which is mainly aimed at a process of sense gratification is nothing but a state of slumber of the whole population in as much as the people do not know that above the sense gratifying activity the mind is acting and above the mind the intelligence is working and above the intelligence soul of every living entity is eternally existent. Every individual living being is so much overpowered by the sense gratifying process that he has forgotten his real identity as spiritual soul eternally existent without being annihilated even after the annihilation of the material body. He does not know that the material body is changed after each so-called death which is nothing but a long duration of the slumbering mood and this ignorance is termed in the Bhagavad-gītā as night of the forgotten or misguided living being. His seemingly activities are considered by one who knows the things as they are as the dreaming process in the night and when the individual soul groans over his——in that night of ignorance one who knows the things as they are try to awaken him from slumber of ignorance. The pangs of materialistic ways of life are in fact like the pang of one's being eaten up by the maneater tiger in dream and the sleeping man is much disturbed as falsely as he acts. One who has realised his self as the part and parcel of the Supreme Whole and is not in the darkness of ignorance of identifying oneself with the material world certainly is the awakened man in the society of sleeping human being and therefore tries to awaken the sleeping men from their slumber by crying aloud the transcendental message of the Kingdom of God. All Messiahs who come down on this earth from the Kingdom of God did this transcendental work at intervals and Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Saravati Gosvāmī Mahārāja also did the same thing in a manner befitting the modern progressive way of human activities.
Although Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī was situated in the order of renounced life of a sannyāsī as Lord Śrī Caitanya was, none of them declared like the Māyāvādīs that this material world is a hallucination. Both of them preached that this material world is temporary but is not unreal. There is much difference between a temporary and an unreal thing. A man in the railway compartment may be a temporary passenger but neither the journey nor the railway compartment is unreal. Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī therefore wanted to emphasize on the fact that we must not be overwhelmed by our temporary travelling activities that we must always keep in our view the destination of our journey and not misidentify ourselves as the perpetual passenger of a temporary railway compartment.
This planet of earth, moving as it is, is just like the moving railway compartment and we are placed here as first second or third class passenger according to our paying capacity. The paying capacity of each and every passenger is the results of his own work or karma. In accordance with our own karma we have become here different classes of passengers for which neither God or anyone else is responsible. But it should not be our aim of travelling life to become a first class passenger from the position of this (indistinct) life. It shall ways be the aim of all passengers to reach the destination by all means. All the passengers in whatever class or compartment they may be put into according as the payment is made, can at the same time simultaneously reach the destination if they are not misled by some others that the railway compartments are their permanent abode. The same passenger is always cognizant of the fact that the railway compartments are never meant for their permanent home but they are meant for carrying the passenger to a desired destination equally available by all classes of passengers.
But the modern trend of civilization as mentioned before is misguided (indistinct) much as the leaders of the present age have misguided their followers that this earth which is compared with the railway compartment is the permanent abode of the living being. The leaders of human society have forgotten that the passengers are meant for a definite destination and they are carried by a temporary moving carriage. The leaders on the other hand misguide the passengers that they will have to travel by the moving carriage perpetually and as such they must all become first class passengers although some of them have no paying capacity. This misguidance of the leaders of society, has played a havoc in the progress of human knowledge and that is considered by the sane man as the ignorance of night.
Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja wanted to dissipate this darkness of ignorance or night. This ignorance of night is called Nescience. He wanted to bring in the Light of Godhead which is compared with the Sun. Before the Sun there cannot be any darkness. Similarly in the presence of Godhead there is no ignorance.
In the Bhagavad-gītā it is stated that this planet or any other planet up to the planet known as "Brahmaloka" or the topmost planet of this universe are all temporary moving compartments like the railway carriage drawn by a machine under the influence of Maya or external energy of Godhead. They are all different carriages or changing abodes of living being. None of them are the perpetual abode of the human being. They are placed in those moving planets temporarily according to their different 'Karma' but they are perpetually life after life in a changing habit. The permanent abode of living entities is the Kingdom of God. When the living entity is placed in that permanent abode of God, he has no more to travel in the railway compartment of machines made by māyā or the External Energy of Godhead.
The Kingdom of God is therefore the destination of living being may it be encaged in any form of embodiment. The aquatic, the plants, the reptiles, the birds, the beasts or the man all are essentially spiritual entities and parts and parcels of Godhead but they have been differently encaged in different forms of embodiment and placed in different compartments of the moving planets according to different karmas. But in spite of this all the different embodied living entities are entitled to enter into the Kingdom of God by a transcendental process described in the Bhagavad-gītā as practically demonstrated by Lord Caitanya. Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Gosvāmī Mahārāja inaugurated the transcendental movement spiritual progress for the benefit of all living being.
The Bhagavad-gītā is never meant for any particular sect of human society, neither it is meant for the human being only. It is meant for all living being but due to advanced consciousness of the human being, he is considered the most perfect living being to recuperate from the illness of ignorance. The transcendental process as referred to above preached in the Bhagavad-gītā and practised by Lord Caitanya is the simple method of self-surrender:
mām ekaṁ śaraṇaṁ vraja
mokṣayiṣyāmi mā śucaḥ
"Abandon all varieties of religion and just surrender unto Me. I shall deliver you from all sinful reactions. Do not fear." [Bg. 18.66]
This surrendering process is rejected by a class of people who are known as the asuras. This asuras are vividly described in the Bhagavad-gītā and the people of modern society corroborate exactly to the description of portion of Bhagavad-gītā. The mode of work adopted by the asuras are sure to bring in disaster upon the world. The asuras of modern age have already been successful in bringing out a disaster of all descriptions upon the earth. The general mass of people are suffering heavily for the leaders misdeeds and if these asuras are not checked in their habit of performing nefarious work in the manner it is going on surely the atomic bomb of demoniac civilization will soon burst into flames, and all plans and resolutions of the asuras will go to hell, at the cost of teasing humanity. The asuras of modern age say that poor and hungry people have no meaning for God but at the same time another big brother of the asura says in another place in disappointment that however efficient a Government may be, unless there is rain nothing can be done. This rain is however, so kindly considered by the big brother of the asuras, is in the hands of God Who alone can give it. So he urges his followers to pray to God for rains.
This praying show to God for the sake of belly is the beginning of self-surrender but the difficulty is that as soon as this prayer is granted by God, the asura at once forgets the blessing of God and again begins his nefarious work for the sufferings of the common people. Such temporary prayers are offered by the diseased, needy etc. if they some asset of good work behind them but the asuras however learned they may be in the estimation of the mundaners, will never offer such prayers even in the worst position of sufferings. They will find out some excuse that the Nature is unkind.
The asuras do not know that they have to depend on either Nature or God whichever they may prefer and all the powers are not invested upon them for the peace of the world. The asura therefore gives a fighting to the laws of Nature by a laboratory method but when he is baffled in his fighting, he says that Nature is unkind without knowing that Nature is God's Nature and She works according to the direction of God. She acts like the police force for the chastisement of the asuras who have rebelled against the authority of the Supreme Godhead and it is not at all possible to get rid of her severe punishment unless the asuras are made to surrender unto Him (Godhead)
As such the transcendental movement of self surrender as inaugurated by Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī Mahārāja is not only essential for spiritual progress of people to reach the destination, but also it is required even for the comfortable journey in the in the moving carriage of the planets to our destinations. The sense-gratifying plans of modern civilization manufactured in the materialistic laboratories of the asuras, must have to be checked if the world has to be saved from the progressive way of barbarism.
While writing this article (8/6/52) it is fortunate that I have come along with another article in the A. B. Patrika of date in which I find an interesting parallel thought by Mr. A. I. Macnull of Jerusalem, in which he concludes his statement in the following manner.
Indian Philosophy attracts Israel.
Political fraternity is not enough. Political friendship to remain true and permanent must be forged into a profound spiritual union. India has a stupendous chance today of leading the world back from the barbarism of bankrupt Western civilization and of realizing the spiritual civilization offered by Mahatma Gandhi, Aurobindo Ghosh, Rabindranath Tagore, and the entire luminous galaxy of India's spiritual giants.
We Indians, whether Jews, Christians, Moslems, Parsis, or Hindus, whether in India or in Israel, have upon our heads the crown of a supreme responsibility. We cannot betray our conscience. We cannot forget our duty to the world. For the sake of blood-stained and tear-filled Humanity, let us aspire to assume the position of Arjuna in the Gita who heard the mighty words from the divine lips of Shri Krishna: "I am the Lord seated in the hearts of all men ... Those who worship the devils go to the devils; those who worship the gods go to the gods; but those who worship Me come to Me. He who worships Me with all his heart, with fearlessness, sincerity, and loving devotion, I am responsible for his happiness. I am Truth, I am Wisdom, the source of Wisdom, and the end of Wisdom. "India and Israel."
Śrīla Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī in the line of His predecessors exactly wanted that persons who are born in the sacred land of India may first of all know in perfection the entire luminous galaxy of spiritual giants and then preach the truth all over the world for their benefit. Mahatma Gandhi tried to touch the spiritual attainments of India for his political end. Rabindra Nath tried to enter into the spiritual Kingdom by mundane poetic sentimentalism and Arabindo Ghose tried to evolve the mystic powers within himself. As such all of them wanted to develop their respective angle of vision with different purposes. The purpose of Bhagavad-gītā is however one and Absolute, because the ultimate purpose of Bhagavad-gītā transcends the spheres of karma, jñāna, yoga and other purposes and coincide in one Absolute purpose, namely transcendental service of thc Personality of Godhead Śrī Krishna as is quoted by Mr. A.I. Macnull of Jerusalem in his article referred to above. The Bhagavad-gītā is in nutshell the summary of all descriptions of spiritual developments that India attained and it is the book which reveals the real picture of God as He is. Śrī Caitanya Mahāprabhu reveals the same purpose of Bhagavad-gītā by practical demonstration. What is theoretically revealed in the Bhagavad-gītā is practically demonstrated by the movement of Lord Caitanya Who is confirmed as Śrī Krsna Himself in the following śloka
yajanti hi su-medhasaḥ
"In the age of Kali, intelligent persons perform congregational chanting to worship the incarnation of Godhead who constantly sings the names of Kṛṣṇa. Although His complexion is not blackish, He is Kṛṣṇa Himself. He is accompanied by His associates, servants, weapons and confidential companions." [S.B. 11.5.32]
Śrī Bhaktisiddhānta Sarasvatī Gosvāmī therefore invited all persons from every corner of the world to take up this cause of spiritual movement in a combined force and offer a challenge to the onward progressive march of the demoniac civilization eating the vital force of humanity.